. . . Things I Cannot Change

Playroom Creation by a Three Year Old.

I visit a man in “Seg.” (as in Segregation) Aka “The Hole” or “Solitary Confinement.” (Once, on the phone, while making the required appointment to visit this man, I’d carelessly used the word “Isolation” and was quickly and firmly corrected.)  Whatever its label, putting a human being in a tiny room all alone for long periods of time is cruel and unusual punishment. Period. And, yes, in the early nineteenth century, Quakers—and Anglicans—invented this form of punishment so, yes, of course, I feel personally responsible whenever I visit him. And am eternally grateful for the many activists working hard to abolish this inhumane punishment.

His story is his to tell, not mine, so I will offer only this: Let’s just say that because of the times we’re living in, when he’s served his sentence, another sentence will be imposed upon him. And, it seems, there’s nothing anyone can do to change that. (I’ve tried.)

But here’s what I want to report—and to marvel at. In the six months I’ve been visiting him, something truly wondrous has happened! On Friday, the angry, young man I met in September who’d rightfully demanded, “Why me?” shrugged his shoulders; he’s accepted that he cannot change his fate, as deeply unfair as it is. Indeed,he’s viewing his unplanned and unwanted future as, oh, my, an opportunity!  Grinning, he struggled to remember the words but eventually nailed F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Living well is the best revenge. And gestured as if to acknowledge to the cinderblock walls of the booth where we met, the glass and metal wall that separated us, the guards lurking outside the booth, the prison cells, the barbed wire fences; all that presently surrounded him.

And, yes, there’s a tiny, tiny part of me that wants to believe that those early Quakers and Anglicans were right! And that this man’s transformation was made possible by forcing him to be “penitent.”

But, mostly, I want to marvel at the human spirit. Again. Oh my.

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1 Comment

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Well, hi, there, Patricia, and greetings and salutations to you and to you AND FOR VERY ESPECIALLY FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, my awesomely precious and dearly special soul sistahfriend Christian Quaker woman who you’re FOR ALWAYS SO, SO VERY MUCH!!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW, I am just so, so very moved and touched in my very heart and spirit with this beautiful, absolutely beautiful, brilliantly and masterfully composed blog post article as your bear witness to this so very dear and special man with his great fortitude in living his life well despite the horrendous circumstances in which he is ensnared in that vile "Seg." WOW, I can tell how awesome he is from your very deeply descriptive words full of such sharp and keen clarity here, my and our absolutely AWESOME sistah!!!!!! I've been praying for and thinking of this so very wonderful man daily and very often sending to him such greatly strong positive energy!!!!! WOW, I'm just so, so very incredibly proud of him and the inner healing with accepting but still powerful agency as he lives his life fully as best as he can even within those foul confines he faces, endures, and experiences with seeing his inner light, courage, and strength through the very murkiness and desolation of his situation. WOW, he is just amazing making a way out of no way somehow someway navigating the very tricky terrain of all of this and I just deeply admire how he sees his dire life as a grand and blessed opportunity to as you wisely share and declare here reference from F. Scott Fitzgerald's very empowering words, "Living well is the best revenge." I just love bearing witness to his transformation as he is encouraged and emboldened by spirit and Spirit by his inner light which guides and inspires him! What a blessed joy to read your sacred words here regarding his spiritual awakenings, my and our so, so very dear, dearest, precious and darling sistah and friend, Patricia!!!!! I just love so reading about here how his rage has gone to a more sweetened anger that gives him the resolve so somehow overcome and to see the positive even through the very dimness of it all when he really has to process and use the very impetus to still somehow survive and thrive despite how unfair these horrid situations are for him!!!!! WOW, he not only blesses you, sistahfriend, but also ME and all of us who bear witness along with YOU, my and our so, so very sweet friend, Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!!! Sistah, I just so, so very much love and cherish YOU, my and our dear, dearest Patricia, just as I know he does as well, and I am just so heartened by all of your valiant efforts to change these grossly unfair circumstances for him. I just so love here how you use the quote from the very deeply spiritual Serenity Prayer as the very fitting and applicable title to this beautiful, absolutely brilliant and beautiful blog post article here, sister!!!!! Sister, the picture which you have very graciously and generously featured and included with this outstanding blog post article is just picture-perfect here and so adorable, Patricia!!!!! I thank-YOU so, so very much as well for very graciously and generously as usual as always once again including these very powerful links so chock full of such vastly important, needed to know, vitally urgent information and lessons for me and for all of us,. Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!!!! I, too, along with you marvel at the human spirit-his so, so very indomitable spirit, your very steadfast and undaunted, beautifully precious spirit, Patricia, and all of our so, so very darling human spirits as such special and astounding children of our So, So Very Sweet Spirit who is the Perfect Example for each and every one of us!!!!! Sistah, I also so, so very much love, too, how you've used the quote from the Serenity Prayer for your very blessed title because this beautifully poignant prayer as you probably already know is prayed very frequently at my very, very many, multiple 12-Step Programs which I'm such a rejoicing and proud member of, sistah and friend of mine, Patricia!!!!!!

    Sistahfriend, I so want to and long to and yearn for telling you about the very special day I had yesterday on Thursday, February 22, 2018-it was my 56th birthday yesterday on that very special day!!!!! I am just so, so very incredibly blessed on my birthday yesterday and FOR ALWAYS just having our So, So Very Good God who loves ME and YOU and each and every one of us and I, and we, just love so and cherish our Sweet Spirit, and I am just so, so very graciously and generously blessed with having YOU, Patricia, as my so, so very dearest sistah and friend, and for all of the other wonderful friends in my life everywhere both near and far and I'm just so, so very richly blessed in such innumerable ways with all of my blessings and with each and every one of you as my so, so very precious friends and dearest and darling sistahfriends and brothahfriends everywhere both near and far!!!!!! I just so, so very much love and cherish YOU, Patricia, and each and every one of you!!!!!! 🙂 <3 On my very special 56th birthday yesterday(which is also our President George Washington's birthday as you probably already know) I had a very delicious, delectable, and yummy lunch with one of my local sistahfriends and then visited with her at her very peaceful home!!!!!! I spent such an awesome day with her and was so overjoyed and blessed to receive a lot of birthday cards in the snail mail, birthday greetings on the telephone, and birthday greetings on Facebook!!!!!! WOW, I am just so, so very much blessed with YOU, my dear, dearest, precious Patricia, and with all of you!!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW!!!!!!

    Sister, I thank-YOU and Spirit continually for YOU and for YOUR VERY PRESENCE IN MY VERY LIFE, Patricia!!!!! YAY for our very friendship and sisterhood, Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!!! YAY!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!! What my very life's and eternal joys and blessings YOU ARE for sure for me, sisterfriend!!!!! WOW!!!!! YAY!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!! Sisterfriend, please have such a fun-filled, fantastic Friday, a wondrously wonderful weekend ahead, and may all of your very days be so, so very especially blessed, Patricia!!!!! 🙂 <3 Spirit so, so very much loves and cherishes YOU A WHOLE LOT AND SO DO I, TOO, A WHOLE LOT AND A WHOLE BUNCH, PATRICIA!!!!!! 🙂 <3


    YOURS FOR ALWAYS SOUL SISTAHFRIEND BLACK WOMAN AND FOR ALWAYS in the very great spirit of unity and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa 🙂 <3

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